Democratic Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison
says while he believes it is crucial to understand as much as possible about violent extremism, he does not buy the basic premise that radicalization is being preached in some American mosques, and he has a problem with the “demonization” of a single community.
, a Muslim, was one of the first speakers in a Thursday House Homeland Security Committee hearing called by chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., to examine the radicalization of the American Muslim community.
“I think that it’s very important to understand as much as we can about violent extremism in the Muslim community and throughout any community,” Ellison told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
“ I mean, the fact is, is that, my problem was the demonization of a singular community and, as we know, [Oklahoma City bomber] Timothy McVeigh – violent extremist, murdered Americans – [Tucson shooter] Jared Loughner, people who committed horrific acts at Columbine: This is not simply a problem with the Muslim community,” he said. “But, in fact, I am concerned about that problem too. And that’s why I have spoken out and written and supported legislation on these points.”
O’Reilly asked Ellison – who became emotional during his testimony – whether the hearing was not similar to previous efforts to investigate Italians in the United States for Mafia-related activity.
Ellison said the focus of those investigations were on the Mafia – not on the Italians who might have been organized-crime members, and he would not have an issue with hearing if it centered on terrorist networks, and not on American Muslims, who might have been targeted by violent organizations.
“The point, is if Peter King said we want to do an investigative hearing on al-Qaida, you would have no argument with me,” Ellison said. “I would say: Absolutely go get them.”
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